Publication details

Caution, control and consumption: Defining acceptable behaviour in the semi-public space of Czech shopping malls

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Year of publication 2014
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
Description This paper presents an empirical study of how deviance is defined in Czech shopping malls. The rise of shopping malls is one of the most important recent developments in Czech cities: the first mall was opened in 1998 in Prague and ten years later, in 2008, there were over 70 shopping malls across the country, making it one of the world's fastest developing countries in this respect. With this development, an idea of a “new public space” came to be prominent, with strict rules of conduct and social control based on surveillance and exclusion. The paper builds on a large body of empirical evidence, including (a) legal documents, (b) house rules of Czech malls, (c) interviews with mall management and developers and (d) interviews with homeless people, in order to understand how deviance and deviant behaviour is defined in these new consumption spaces. It will be argued that definitions of deviance and the policy of exclusion is based on principles of caution (i.e. preventive exclusion of potentially disturbing elements), control (removal of all kinds of conduct which are seen as prone to uncontrollability) and consumption (removal of those who are considered unable, or unwilling to, participate in consumption) The rules of acceptability are, on the one hand, vague and open to interpretation by the security staff, and, on the other hand, tailored to exclude groups which are considered prone to undesirable conduct.
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